“Sustainability meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
-The United Nations
If you’re not already thinking about how your company can start integrating into the closed-loop economy model, you’re behind the curve.
Sustainability has become a top priority among decision-makers in our current global economic, political and business environment as it affects everything from the environment and our health to economic growth. Achieving sustainability requires moving from a traditional Take-Make-Waste economy to a “circular economy”, which is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution. It requires a fundamental shift in how we conceive not only of product development but the very business models that drive our organizations.
In this article, we going to help business professionals understand the growing business case for sustainable solutions and what the future of business looks like with sustainability in mind. As a reader, you will also understand how to manage and lead a sustainable business by incorporating circular economy principles into your ocean brand strategies to support sustainable growth.
What is a circular economy?
Most linear economy businesses take a natural resource and turn it into a product which is ultimately destined to become waste because of the way it has been designed and made. This process is often summarised by “take, make, waste”.
By contrast, a circular economy employs reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a closed-loop system, minimizing the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
“A circular textiles industry is based on a system where textiles products, fabrics and fibers are infinitely and effectively cycled through connected loops within and across industries in a transparent and economical way, where producers apply business practices that enable circular use of textile resources and promote social justice, and consumers have a healthy relationship with textiles, based on sustainable consumer practices.”
Brands are beginning to realize that if they develop these circular supply chains, they can reduce manufacturing costs and provide consumers with more sustainable products. Also, governments are noticing how local recycling and closed-loop economies reduce municipal waste budgets, generate revenue, and drive local job creation.
By starting the transitions to a closed-loop economy now, you’ll have an advantage over your competition, serve as a model in your industry, and perhaps even help shape future regulation.
Industries already adopting a circular economy are the textile & fashion, construction, automotive, logistics, agriculture & aquaculture, furniture, and the oil & gas industry.
Adopting a circular model
Circular is a new approach that encompasses the whole value chain of the industry. , changing the way products are designed, produced, shipped, bought, used and recycled. For individual businesses, these approaches come in the shape of circular business models.
Circular business models include products and business processes designed to enable the retention of material quality and value at end of use to ensure ‘endless’ cycling of resources through a circular system. In order to ensure fully closed loops, the business model needs to address the inherent recyclability of materials, design of the product (enabling disassembly of components to separate into ‘pure’ material streams), the infrastructure for product take-back and collection and process infrastructure for recovery of materials and product manufacturing.
It is important to bear in mind that the business model for closed-loop may still be a ‘traditional’ product sales model, so long as the above-mentioned aspects are addressed and longer use, return, re-use and recycling is ensured or stimulated.
To close the loop, a variety of recycling technologies will have a part to play, but the ‘lead’ will be taken by technologies that can recover or regenerate fibers to virgin quality (full circular chemical recycling technologies).
Today, mechanical methods are already playing a crucial role in paving the road to circular, offering ‘textile to textile’ solutions that proximate virgin quality and that are ready for further scaling. However, the race towards full circular continues while new chemical solutions continue to develop and prepare for commercialization.
The 3P’s : A Framework for Measuring Sustainability Goals
- Quality of life
- Unemployment rate
- Gender equality
- Relative poverty
- Higher education
- Average commute time
- Life expectancy
- Air and water quality
- Energy consumption
- Natural resources
- Solid and toxic waste
- Land use and land cover
Economic and Financial Measures
- Revenue and cost
- Efficiency and productivity
- Organizational size and value
- Company growth
- Employment distribution sector
- Percentage of firms in each sector
- Revenue by sector
- Prot margin
Measuring whether a company is operating sustainably or pursuing sustainability can be challenging. The three Ps framework—People, Planet and Prot—goes beyond the traditional measures of port, return on investment, and shareholder value to include environmental and social dimensions.
For the most recent years, there is been a rising trend on conscious and sustainable practices. Brands are looking into different alternatives that are sustainable and ethical and the future looks more circular than ever. The circular economy is accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.